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NDP set to introduce single-game betting bill

10th December, 23:34

It won't be long before you'll be able to lay a bet -- legally -- on your favourite pro sports teams in Canada if the NDP have their way.

But, realistically, don't hold your breath.

NDP MP Brian Masse (Windsor West) told the House of Commons Monday that his party will again introduce a Las Vegas-style sports betting bill in the hopes of combating offshore wagering, according to Blacklock's Reporter.

"Currently in Canada about $10 billion goes to organized crime or offshore betting," Masse told the Commons.

"That money could be redirected to priorities, and accountable sports betting could take place. The United States is actually moving toward this."

Canada, though, doesn't seem inclined to legalize it at this point.

Masse sponsored private sports-betting bills in 2012 and 2016 but neither were passed into law.

In 2012, MPs passed it but the bill died in the Senate following protests from the Toronto Blue Jays, according to Blacklock's.

Wagering on a single game in Canada is still illegal -- Pro-Line allows betting on three to six sports events on a single ticket, to a maximum of $100 -- but Canadians throw down billions in bets by using offshore gambling websites and illegal bookmakers.

Public Safety minister Bill Blair doesn't seem keen on legalizing single-game betting, even though two provinces (Saskatchewan and Manitoba) earlier petitioned cabinet for just that.

"Sports leagues are rightly concerned to ensure there is no match fixing," Blair earlier told MPs. "Allowing single game betting would open a Pandora's box of match fixing."

But "people are already doing it," the then CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association said in 2012, though not legally.

"Billions of dollars are going into the underground economy," William Rutsey testified before the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee in 2012. "Whether you are a fan of gaming or morally opposed to it, and about 20% of Canadians are, everyone recognizes it's here, it's been here forever, and it's here to stay."